The all important July evaluation period is now upon us and that means college coaches are hitting the road to evaluate prospects. This is the first time since April that coaches have been able to leave their campus to evaluate recruits, and for some prospects it will be the first time coaches can see them play a competitive game of basketball since February.
July is broken up into two 10 day open periods. The first period runs July 6-15 and then the second one is July 22-31. Here is a look at the top events of the early recruiting period.
Adidas Invitational, July 6-9 (Indianapolis, Indiana)
This might be the premier event of the entire early evaluation period. All of the top teams on the Adidas circuit get together for one of their two big events of the summer.
Leading the way in the event is Shabazz Muhammad. The newly minted top prospect in the 2012 class is a dynamic scorer on the wing and someone who plays with an incredible motor and desire to win.
What makes this interesting is that Muhammad will be on the same floor as No. 2 prospect in the class, Andre Drummond. Drummond and his Connecticut Basketball Club squad will face off with Muhammad and Dreamvision in pool play.
Those two lead the way, but several other top teams and players are in attendance. Indiana Elite has four Indiana University commitments playing, the Atlanta Celtics are one of the top teams in the age division, and top 2013 prospects Chris Thomas (Colorado Hawks) and Nate Britt (D.C. Assault) all will be on the big stage.
EYBL Finals at Peach Jam, July 12-15 (North August, South Carolina)
Always one of the premier events, the Peach Jam will again be loaded. Team Takeover, led by elite 2013 center Beejay Anya as well as 2012 prospects Jerami Grant, Arnaud Moto, and James Robinson will put their perfect EYBL record on the line as well as last year’s Peach Jam title.
Team Takeover may be the favorite, but from the West Coast the Oakland Soldiers will be bringing a very talented squad to the Eastern Time zone. The Soldiers are led by Brandon Ashley and the 2013 trio of Aaron Gordon, Jabari Bird, and Tyree Robinson.
Other teams to watch include Spiece Indy Heat with five-star D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Albany City Rocks with Dajuan Coleman, BABC with Nerlens Noel, and CIA Bounce with top 2014 prospect Andrew Wiggins as well as five-star 2012 power forward Anthony Bennett.
All of the EYBL teams have been playing against each other in April and May, and the Peach Jam will determine who is the champion of the Nike circuit.
LeBron James Skills Academy, July 6-8 (Akron, Ohio)
The top individual camp of the July period, the LeBron James Skills Academy has 80 of the top players in the country. Mostly it is the top kids who play on the Nike circuit, though some other prospects also make it to Akron to participate.
The nation’s two best class of 2013 prospects, Jabari Parker and Julius Randle, will both be at the event showing what they are capable of. Also five-star 2012 prospects such as Rodney Purvis, Gary Harris, Kyle Anderson, and Duke commitment Rasheed Sulaimon will be vying to show their dominance in the class.
One thing to keep a close eye on is the presence of many of the top 2014 prospects at the camp. This will be the first major exposure to a camp setting for Wayne Selden, Theo Pinson, Dakari Johnson, and Jahlil Okafor. All of them will be looking to prove their worth against the elite older prospects in the country.
Every year something major happens at the camp, and it is designed to give the best players in the country a chance to really go against each other in a high octane environment.
NY2LA Summer Jam, July 12-15 (Mequon, Wisconsin)
While not the traditional event as Peach Jam and the Adidas Invitational, the Summer Jam has quickly emerged as one of the premier events of the summer.
Numerous high level squads will be making the trip to suburban Wisconsin to close out their first period vying for the championship in what should be an extremely competitive event.
Teams such as Dreamvision, DC Assault, Texas PRO, Atlanta Xpress, Illinois Wolves, SYF Players, D3 Pride, Eric Gordon All-Stars, and many others will all be in attendance.
This means prospects such as Torian Graham, Danuel House, Robert Carter, Mitch McGary, Willie Cauley, Ronnie Johnson, Stephen Domingo, and many others will all be under one roof looking to make an impression.
Hoop Group Elite Team Camp, July 9-10, (Reading, Pennsylvania):
Always a loaded event, many of the top high school teams on the East Coast will gather at Albright College to participate in a two day tournament.
High octane programs such as Washington (DC) Gonzaga, Jamesville (NY) Jamesville-Dewitt, Philadelphia (PA) Imhotep, Philadelphia (PA) Roman Catholic, Jersey City (NJ) St. Anthony’s, and many others all loaded with elite level prospects will be duking it out for a coveted title.
The team camp is one of the most prestigious events on the entire eastern seaboard and always makes for some competitive days.
Great American Shootout, July 9-11, (Duncanville, Texas)
The state of Texas is always loaded with big time prospects, some under the radar and some very much on everybody’s radar. The Great American Shootout provides a chance for all of the state’s prospects to be seen.
Some high level performers from the state will be at the event. The Houston Defenders will lead the way with Andrew Harrison and Aaron Harrison as well as five-star center Shaquille Cleare. Also Texas PRO, the Houston Hoopstars, Dallas Mustangs, and Urban DFW will all be in attendance.
One player who will be scrutinized a lot in July is Alex Caruso of the Texas D-1 Ambassadors. Caruso blew up in June, and now all the coaches will get a good chance to evaluate him. Also keep a close eye on Marcus Smart of Texas Assault who will be in this event, he has proved to be one of the top players on the entire circuit.
Reebok Breakout Camp, July 5-9, (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
Reebok is back in July, but with a much different plan.
Instead of going after the top tier prospects, Reebok let prospects earn their way into camp via satellite camps. After picking up half of the campers that way, Reebok then closed out camp by selecting under the radar prospects.
Their model is based on John Wall’s storyline of earning his way into camp a few years ago and then proceeding to blow up on a national stage.
Among the top prospects expected to attend are Kareem Canty, Monte Morris, Ray Lee, Ikenna Iroegbu, Josh Newkirk, Jevon Thomas, Malcolm Hill, Shep Garner, Rysheed Jordan, Brandon Austin, and DeJuan Marrero.
Games tip off on July 6th and will be held at Philadelphia University.
Other Top Events: NY2LA Next Level Invitational, Double Pump Summer Tip-Off, Big Shots Myrtle Beach, Hoop Group West Virginia Jam Fest, Hoop Mountain Showcase, King James Summer Showcase, Kentucky Hoopfest, New England Recruiting Report Elite Showcase, Double Pump West Coast All-Star Camp, Full Court Press All-West Camp, Peach State Summer Showcase, Best Buy Summer Classic, Best of the Midwest, Best of South, D-1 Elite High School Showcase
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